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Ruth Catlin - Notable Women Ancestors

by Nadine Hielscher

Ernestina (nee ?) Hielscher was born in Germany on October 14, 1853 and died in Sterling, CO, on September 28, 1916. Ernestina and her husband Karl G. Hielscher came from Germany with their 3 boys and one daughter. They first lived in Nebraska then settled in Colorado. She gave birth to 10 children in all. Each of their girls went on to have children out of wedlock.

Ernestina was purportedly very stern with a questionable temper. Karl was a good looking, shy man who liked an occasional taste of the spirits. After he returned from town, he would throw his hat in the front door before he dare enter. If Ernestina threw the hat back out he stayed outside, but if the hat stayed in the house he entered. When Karl died in August 27, 1903 there was some question to the cause of death. Family lore has it that Karl hung or shot himself to get away from his ill-tempered wife, and indeed the death certificate states that he died of a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the head. After his death, Ernestina placed a handkerchief over his bloody head and took a photograph of his lifeless body. She died on September 28, 1916 and is buried next to Karl. Supposedly, Ernestina's son, Oswald was killed in the U.S. Army after he made off with his boss's horse. He was tracked down killed after a cattle drive.


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